Battle for Azeroth: Why Am I Enjoying the Expansion?

This post is an expansion of my yesterday’s comments. I’ve mentioned that I’m experiencing a huge gap between my own feelings and what I am reading, watching and listening in WoW-related media from other players. Likewise in Draenor – while my WoD gameplay was rich, full of events and kept me busy from day one to day last, people blamed it to be the worst expansion ever. Literally overwhelmed by the number of negative posting, I’m urged to express my thoughts – focusing on positive features.

Let’s go.

1. The new and the best from Legion systems are here.

Legion introduced lots of quality of life improvements and overall gaming experience.

To name a few:

  • We have got flight master’s whistle – a genious feature that allows us to walk out of the world quest area, hidden in a ravine.
  • The flight point approach is much different from what we’ve seen so far – they are plenty, they are convenient, and your travel time to the required area is literally 30 seconds upon landing.
  • The world quest system is simple, comprehensible, allows a lot of choice and is highly rewarding. BfA is now pulpably scaling the gear rewards, so your gearing up with WQ only could take 2 hours of gameplay to allow you to warfronts and LFR.
  • World bosses were new for Legion, and they are an extra chance to gear up.
  • Reputation tokens are your great help to boost rep.
  • Mob scaling may not be tuned perfectly, but in the long run it’s a bliss. While your leveling process may be a bit hobbled because of scaling, it takes three days of gameplay at most, and the rest of the expansion is your endgame. It is important that mobs stayed relevant throughout the expansion, and gearing up eventually makes ‘Three-five players recommended’ soloable without question on every class and spec.
  • Due to scaling, you have an extreme variety of options and zone leveling order, and quests are plenty and more than enough to get you to 120 without bonuses.

These all things made it to BfA unchanged, and they do work just the same way or better.

2. Some of the Legion’s systems were improved.¬†

Our mission table was polished once again. Now all our champions are capable of questing (no one left sitting on a bench), and the missions themselves became highly optionable. Azerite, pet charms and reputation tokens are an awesome addition to your routines, but they are totally not necessary. In other words, your mission table doesn’t feel like a chore in BfA. The champions do not require collecting gear to become efficient, and their gear provides bonuses for your professions if you wish so.

Profession quests are now limited to gathering, they do not require multiple dungeon runs, so they could be done in one seat, and overall provide a great deal of easy adventure.

3. Visuals

After endless elven/vrykul architecture and bleak landscapes of Legion (except Val’sharah and Suramar city), we’ve got a nice environment to be in.

In Kul Tiras we are deep in salty, sea theme of Tiragarde with its peaceful or pirate-adventurous soundtrack, Drustvar is your gothic British horror – but not all dark, due to sunny mountain regions, and Stormsong sways between Alpine and Dutch environments.

Zandalar offers all the range from adventurous movies – a jungle/Jurassic park of Zuldazar, magnificent bogs of Nazmir, swarming with life, and Arabian desert of Vol’dun. Each and every location is highly pleasant to be in, and there’s no one that I hate to visit (like Azsuna, Suramar or Stormheim, not to mention the demon-scorched grounds).

BfA is rich with details, so we keep wondering where’s the limit? Investigating a random house gives you a full impression that people do live there, and how they are doing it.

BfA offered new NPC poses – leaning on a doorpost, walking drunk, standing on guard is what you notice, and it really makes the world a lot more alive.

4. Soundtrack

The whole range of BfA melodies adds up to the zone ambience, and the job here is done greatly. Considering catchy melodies, BfA is well ahead from the previous expansion, and I just like every tune that plays along.

5. Azerite armor and necklace

Well, yes, it’s fine. Now that I get the routines, ways and goals to level it, it’s not that bad. Of course it lacks the convenient interface unlike artifacts, but I think of it the same as mission table improvement: it became easier and not that demanding as our weapons used to be.

With all the randomness of azerite traits, I don’t bother much about them. Earning a trait or an extra artifact necklace level is a pleasant bonus – I definitely don’t feel it like a chore to max it out or carefully pick and desire that one trait. I guess it’s the same approach as with legiondaries – people were hunting for the ‘best in slot’ items, but I never cared and just wore what dropped. What is important, azerite armor is earned fair and square through raids, warfronts, emissaries, and it’s a goal to follow rather than an elusive chance to get one.

6. Faction story/continent division

It’s arguable, but as I’ve said previously, you’ll never experience all the lore by playing only one toon – ever since Vanilla and starting zones. The most punishing in these terms was the all-praised Legion – 11 separate stories, rich and evolving, would be left unknown to your single character. Now you have only two.

And I guess everyone’s missing how logistics were masterfully solved – considering the enemy continent. I feel myself at home both at hostile Zandalar or hostile Kul Tiras – multiple and convenient flight points are making travel through enemy’s lands a breeze. In many cases taking a ship from your harbor to a world quest is WAY faster than your enemy would fly from his capital. So, both continents offer equal opportunities to both factions.

7. Plot 

Continents provide a range of small stories, and we get the deepest insight possible to the local societies – societies we were speculating about since Vanilla. It’s not your no-name Highmountains or Nightborne you’ve never heard of before – it’s Kul-fucking-Tiras, heroes dating back to Warcraft II, and Zandalar, the heart and spiritual center of all troll tribes we’ve ever met. What factions could have been more epic? And they really are interesting and very well worked out.

We may not like how the events are unrolling considering faction war, but we can’t deny it’s very logical. When you put a genocidal bitch in charge of one faction, it’s only a matter of time when the bomb will go off. This was clear right after Vol’jin appointed her as a warchief, and this happened in the beginning of Legion. Don’t you worry, it’s not for long, as even the Horde (most of it) is not happy with what’s going on. It is crystal clear without spoilers that the infamous banshee will not survive BfA as a warchief – and it’s damn intriguing how this will happen. Are you not interested?

The faction war itself rolls on very logically. Both factions coped with the multiple internal Kul Tiran/Zandalari troubles – the islands were an utter mess before our arrival. And we’ve not only established bonds, not only that. We guide a very aggressive campaign – there’s more outposts on the face of Kul Tiras and Zandalar than pimples on a teenager’s face. The Alliance has prepared everything for the direct onslaught on the troll capital itself, while the Horde also has an ace in its sleeve.

There are the fattest hints possible considering N’Zoth and Azshara – the only major threat left on the surface of Azeroth. The long anticipated meeting. Of course, we couldn’t have got the raid in 8.0, but presence of the Old Gods is literally overwhelming throughout even the initiate stories.

And while it’s yet unclear how we heal the sword wound, it’s also a plot we never forget about. Druids, shaman and Magni are frantically working on a solution, while we aid our small aid during our adventures. They never let us forget that the situation is dire – even the world quest music plays Azeroth’s sad and ominous theme whenever we’re stepping into the Champions’ task territory.

Long story short, there are four major and rich plotlines, and we cannot say any of them is not paid for enough attention. They may be dark, they may be grim, but they are certainly well done. They keep me motivated, they keep me rolling, and they keep me intrigued – what else could you desire?

8. Pursuing my goals

I’ve written a separate post about how we’re lacking an extra progress system we got used to in previous expansions (artifact weapons, order halls, garrisons, crop farm), but this doesn’t mean we have nothing to do. My goals are now back to the basics: reputations / gear / profession leveling and raiding for transmogs, and I’m having my hands full now.

And I cannot say that anything is holding me back while I’m pursuing these very goals. The gameplay is smooth, fun, relaxing and provides alternate options with the smallest grind amount possible. Even the smallest gaming sessions of 30 minutes long let you make a significant progress towards this or that thing, and that is totally plausible.

=========

There’s more I could possibly remember later, but these are the main reasons why I find the expansion:

  • Interesting
  • Engaging
  • Non-grindy
  • Playtime forgiving
  • Alt-friendly
  • Overall – Fun

My subscription ends in November, and by all means it will be renewed the minute it goes off. The expansion has its drawbacks – mainly because its new systems are unpolished – but it really is awesome. There is no question if I’m playing it or not – I just do.

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Uldir: A Peep into Heart of Corruption

ghuun

The last wing of Uldir, unlike most raids in Legion, contains two bosses – Mythrax and G’huun himself.

Mythrax, predicted as LFR bane, appeared to be one of the easiest bosses in the raid. It sports barely a couple of mechanics, and not any new ones. Step out of the cone if it targets your general direction, and make sure your tanks drive adds apart. Easy as that.

But G’huun can easily be your raid killer, and it really is. It has most inventive mechanics, where beating the boss itself takes the least time from the encounter. It revolves around your heroic 2-4 people which bring orbs on either side to fuel the superlaser, while others are messing around in the central room. This superlaser, when charged, first cleanses the multiplying adds, and the second charge burns down 30k from G’huun itself, otherwise unbeatable. It is quite a messy and bloody encounter which I could compare probably to Helya in complexity, not one-shot mannequin of Xavius of course.

Now that we’ve played through the whole raid, here’s my boss rating:

The ones that are fun:

  • Taloc
  • MOTHER
  • Zek’voz
  • G’huun

The ones that I relax:

  • Fetid Devourer
  • Mythrax

The ones that I hate:

  • Vectis
  • Zul

Lorewise the whole raid is sorta anti-climactic. Even for the Horde players, who saw Mythrax and Zul in action and fought their deal of blood trolls. For the Alliance, it’s another Brann’s investigation of titan constructions, but it’s nowhere near to the magnificence and mysteries of Ulduar of course.

Basically the whole raid is about… cleaning the mess. And even if the bosses are great, the blood magic theme masterfully delivered in visuals, it’s not even matching Emerald Nightmare. Because we’re doing janitor job in the lab.

What do you feel upon defeating G’huun? I’m putting my mop in a bucket with a feeling of a job well done :)

Uldir: A Peep into Crimson Descent

Uldir-Zul-Crimson-Descent

In the second wing we continue to clear the enormous Uldir complex of G’huun corruption. There is not too much happening lorewise – much like in Nefarian’s lair in Cataclysm, we clear the wings from monstrosities.

The first LFR boss here is Fetid Devourer, a three-headed ‘dog’. It reminded me of a Helya’s pet, although this time you don’t bother with the breath or running mechanics – just step out of the bad cone. Also you need to dispose quickly of the appearing blob adds before their cast is complete. It is yet unclear what they do if not defeated – obviously something very-very bad. I guess I’ll learn it with later runs, but we managed to kill both quickly enough, myself even managing to contribute to both of them. So basically it’s nuke, kill a couple of adds, run out of the bad breath cone. Very-very easy.

I liked the boss design, it really is monstrous. A head of a lion, a dino, and maybe a bird?

What was bad was trash in the boss room. You have to pull it carefully, as boss is walking around in circles and easy to aggro in the most unconvenient time. I don’t really know why they did it but for annoyance.

The second one was Vectis, a blood leech abomination. This one was a mess. Now it is time to praise our tank which led the raid in the best way possible: explaining tactics, supervising the encounter and naturally performing his own tanking job flawlessly. For his efforts, we wiped at Zul only once, and with 3% of his health left.

So, the tank divided us in two groups to stand together, and there we went. There is a lot of blood contagion going on, in the most different ways. The encounter was a mess in metaphorical and literal sense. Before I step in with another toon, I will examine the tactics until I learn them perfectly. The amount of debuffs and puddles to run from or step in is literally overwhelming – and what is worse, it is not clear what you do. We ended Vectis with 4 people standing (not me), and it was barely a wipe.

The three wings cleared (from Devourer, Vectis and Zek’voz), staircases appear and allow us to descend to the central platform. It is flooded with trash blood trolls, and it is a hint of what awaits us.

Zul‘s boss design is an add fight. Apparently the priority is focusing hexers -> crasher brutes -> boss, while minor droplets and crawgs die from AoE. I literally spent 10% of my time planting spells at Zul himself, because adds were my priority. When close to death, Zul starts flooding the floor with blood, so you need to kill him quick.

This one I enjoyed a lot. It’s exactly the type of boss that I like: plenty of space to run around, quite comprehensible goals, personal choices to be made. And lorewise it is awesome. I was afraid that Zul will be enhanced with blood magic and become a monstrosity – no way, he keeps his own looks, and being a prophet, a spiritual leader, guides his followers to battle.

Got four cloth set pieces covered this week :) I enjoy this wing more than the first one, but so far, the bosses are definitely harder and more interesting than Emerald Nightmare. Rumors are that LFR now differs from other modes in numbers only, the mechanics are all there and are to be executed.

Uldir: A Peep into Halls of Containment

The first wing of Uldir is up and running – Halls of Containment. The wing contains three bosses – Taloc, MOTHER and Zek’voz.

Uldir-Scenery-Central-Hub

I came drastically unprepared. This is actually funny :) A friend of ours came to visit yesterday (she lives across the road, so it’s a common thing), and I’ve remembered that we have a new raid available only after a couple of hours and a couple of beers :) So I excused myself, left her and my wife chatting, and logged in to manage this before bedtime :) Naturally I didn’t repeat the tactics which I read before. Queue time being less than 3 minutes (I didn’t even get to my first world quest) didn’t help. So, I had to check the things on spot.

Uldir doesn’t look as easy as the Emerald Nightmare. The only thing that makes it being the ‘first’ is the bosses’ health bars. I felt that the fights were very quick, like killing a stubborn rare mob of elite sort.

Scenery

The looks are beautiful – this ring in the central hub, those titan machines, and at the same time this uneasy rotten addition. This blight is more prominent in Underrot, but like Emerald Nightmare’s red blobs, it’s certainly quite unique and somehow cozy in a twisted way. In the raid it is masterfully intertwined with titan building, so it’s the nice place to walk around.

There is not much trash, and the trash encounters are not long and/or annoying, just your normal guys. Remember how EN just swarmed with them – I hated that satyr pipe after the first boss. Trash are blood trolls of course.

Lore

Lorewise, I think the Alliance gets a nice lead in – considering that this is certainly Horde’s raid. We’ve been around the raid when we settled an outpost in Nazmir, I think Brann and Keeshan explained the things to us.

And there is Brann in the raid itself to explore and explain. Obviously he can’t pass by titan structures, and he has some experience with Old God defilement (Yogg-Saron, anyone?). I will see what the Horde version of the raid looks like on weekend.

Bosses

I think they were not as easy as the first expansion raid would suggest. They have certain mechanics to be figured out, and following them is crucial for success.

Taloc – this construct was damaged by a goblin walking tank, and from the subsequent falling through the roof deep down (this happened during Nazmir leveling questline).

Taloc is nothing to worry about during the first two phases (cudgel and elevator), and it was a mess in the third. I was always having different blobs following me, and I need to read the tactics again to see how to avoid. Nevertheless, I didn’t die, and Taloc came down with our first try.

MOTHER – is a boss for group coordination, and this is punishing a lot. There are three rooms divided by grid. Raid has to move through the grid to another room to avoid a wipe when MOTHER will purge the current room in three minutes.

The problem is, every player passing through the grid will damage the whole raid, and also spawns a blob add which is to be killed asap. So the idea is to bring small groups through the grid to let healers cope with the damage and not allow too many adds at once. If the whole raid passes at once, it’s an obvious wipe.

Our first try was an obvious wipe in the second room. On our second one, more people understood the idea, so it was a success. It didn’t save me from kissing the floor though. Me and several guys (no tank, no healer) went first to the next room, adds chomped some vital pieces from us, so when the rest of the raid moved after the boss, they obviously killed me.

It’s an interesting mechanic, and I think this will be one of the best and most remembered.

Many-many points to Blizzard for MOTHER’s voice! It’s mechanical, artificial, and very pleasant to listen to. Such a difference from normal titan’s booming in low key.

Zek’voz – I hated his appearance. It’s so unimaginative, yet another qiraji or mantid’s big bug. Just a common bug.

There’s nothing too complex about the encounter – step out of the bad, bring the bad to the edges of the room, catch an orb, kill adds if any, and damage possessed players. I generally liked it. We wiped at 1% the first time for there were too many players catching an orb – so too many possessed to cope with. I also helped by deliberately running into the add-spawning void zone (I thought it was the place where the orb comes – now I learned my visuals).

My loot out of 5 tries (3 bosses and 2 coins) was an off-hand from MOTHER. As I currently equip a wand and an off-hand, it was a nice upgrade.

Uldir-Zekvoz-down

Generally the first wing and the raid as a whole is nice. I liked the visuals, the boss variety, the imaginative mechanics and the lore part. Basically – everything. Let’s see what’s next :)

Pre-Patch 8.0. Class Changes Overview

A thourough research, alt+tab guides, was held yesterday and today. I’ve tried all the classes in the field during Army of the Light emissary quests and assaulted dummies in Pandaria hubs.

Here’s my report.

First of all, healing will not be a thing of this article. The arsenal of healers did not experience too many radical changes, and I’ll be testing its worth in group content like dungeons and raids – during the expansion itself.

While almost all of my healers are gonna be leveling as DPS, there’s one exception: Aurinko the Priest, because I’m not planning to go Shadow while Insanity mechanics exist in game. She tried questing in Holy, and her DPS as such is amazingly great. I’ve swiped out the pack of 5 mobs with ease and surprisingly quickly. Also I was able to pummel an elite mob with no trouble. It’s quite a viable leveling option. I may try Discipline too, but why care switching specs when you’re decent in your played healing one?

The second thing that can be described in few words are tanks. Tanking doesn’t differ from what we had in Legion, so there’s no worries about rotations. Their biggest flaw considering leveling is that tanks are lacking DPS in scales. I’ve engaged an elite Argus mob with my warrior, and while she couldn’t penetrate my defence, picking at her solo was the most boring thing I did during my session. I gave up after taking 20% from the demon which took ages, and then just jumped into my exosuit to burn her down. I even doubt taking my monk as Brewmaster leveling – I felt so much underpowered. In other words, if you opt for an active and quick combat, tanks are not your choice. Yes, they are supposed to aggro dozens at once to speed things up, but that’s not always possible in questing. Verdict: group content.

Now, on to DPS class by class.

CLOTH

Mage

Fire – is pretty much the same. Bombarding a dummy revealed that I have many instant Pyroblast procs, so they are pretty quick and powerful. It’s yet to try some tweaks in AoE gameplay, but overall I’m happy. It’s gonna be my Dark Iron Dwarf spec.

Frost – I’ve summoned a water elemental, and my poor Gnome drowned in its bulk. Dismissed water elemental and chose the talent where I will not summon it. Gameplay is pretty much the same, although I replace a nova instant nuke with a freeze ray. Basic Frostbolt is unexpectedly powerful. Micromantica needs to get used to the new nuke, but her rotation is almost the same. Considering there were not major issues with Frost Mage in Legion, she’s happy.

Arcane – there is much more control over Arcane Missiles, and that surely is a big improvement. If Myde someday will step forward, she’ll feel better than Legion experience. Until expansion lulls, she’s dismissed – the core idea of paying constant attention to mana pool is not my thing.

Priest

Described in healing section. Holy is Aurinko’s current choice for both solo and group content, and I’m not into Shadow.

Warlock

Affliction – Blizzard lost me in Legion when they implemented the need to apply multiple Unstable Afflictions and wasting mana for every spell. None of these issues were addressed in BfA version, so it’s time to say goodbye. I could only mention one great thing: a talent to make Corruption DoT constant without the need to refresh it.

Destruction – this is Faerella’s spec to go in every type of content. Powerful, crystal clear and logical, and with brand new animations on top. Everything stays like in Legion, and it was quite solid to proceed with.

Demonology – I’ve spent half an hour getting the idea, and I must say that this is FUN. You summon millions of demons now, and the spec name finally justifies itself! The rotation leaves some space to think, yet it’s quite easy and straightforward once you get the priorities. It’s a mere pleasure to play, yet maybe not a leveling option for me. Summoning a literal ARMY for another 10 bear asses feels a bit overdone :) It’s a viable option for raids though, ensuring a battle of epic proportions.

LEATHER

Demon Hunter

Havoc – Melaris has lost several cooldowns due to class changes, so her burst somewhat shrinked now. Otherwise everything stays as it stays – a mobile, swift and agile style.

Druid

Balance – lots of options to overload your panels with extra damaging abilities. The renewed talent tree allows me to stay in Legion style which I were more than happy with, so Helu walks into BfA largely unchanged.

Feral – Brutal Slash, despite its nerf, is still a more powerful combo builder than Shred, so it stays in solo rotation. I like that spell! Jammu feels that now you have to make use of 2 speed cooldowns, and she’s not happy with that. Outside of them she waits for abilities to be cast, so it’s an annoyance. Why not bake one of the cooldowns into basic energy regeneration and leave us with a boost we’ll never know. Haste is her gear priority from now on.

Monk

Windwalker – not so many changes for Paitsu’s DPS spec. It’s quite ok to play with, and if I feel that Brewmaster is too weak in the field, I will switch to Windwalker by all means and with pleasure.

Rogue

Assassination – something’s very wrong with my favorite spec, and this wrong is: Haste. Energy regeneration sucks so much – you spend 1-2 seconds constantly with nothing to cast, even when all your talents are about haste and energy regeneration. Dismissed for now. I’ll be missing it.

Outlaw – still not a fun of my swordplay interrupted with a clumsy pistol shot. Nay.

Subtlety – the one and only spec for me now. It’s quick, very effective, and now served with a rich talent choice. Only to think about it, I’ve never touched the spec before Legion. It is simply awesome.

CHAINMAIL

Hunter

Marksmanship – another complete overhaul of Marksmanship spec. It’s only four basic rotation buttons today, two builders and two spenders. And even this small number feels very crumpled. The major idea is to balance around ~50 focus – there, I said it. Balance, as in Druid Balance. This is strange how it largely resembles the previous Balance spec versions of druids – remember this rolling ball? I basically imagine this ball on the current Hunter’s Focus bar. Needs to be tested and tested to make a final decision about it. Maybe I will get used to it, but it’s a bit tense now.

Survival – ooh, that’s definitely a big thing going on. Some giant strides were made towards the stalker fantasy, and it’s just great. Ranged options were added, so now only a couple of strikes and auto-attacks are melee. The rotation rolls around maintaining a couple of DoTs on the target, as well as weaving in your powerful spear strikes. And yes, it definitely is exciting to play. I will make the final decision after I play it in the field a bit. For now it looks as a strong and interesting hunter option. Bravo, Blizzard!

Beast Mastery – they’ve addressed my major Legion issue. All you did in your rotation was yelling, not shooting. Now you’re a guy with a gun again. And still I quit after a couple of minutes – it’s simply boring compared to the other two.

Shaman

Enhancement – excellent. Was it GCD added, but it made the playstyle quite comprehensible. In Legion all you did was facerolling. Now ability management is present, and choices are to be made. Despite that, it doesn’t feel slow at all – another wasted second, and you’re overcapped with Maelstrom energies. Constant casting, pro-active fighting style, no time to get bored. What’s left to test is survivability – in Legion shaman were paper dolls.

Elemental – excellent. I was happy enough with them in Legion. Yet they implemented a minor tweak that improved everything greatly: Earth Shock / Earthquake now cost exactly 60 Maelstrom, not the previous range of 50-100. So basically you don’t have to manage this now: as soon as you have enough, you do the thing. It makes the spec so much more comprehensible and easier to play.

One more issue in Legion was a slow pace of acquiring Maelstrom power. You could pick a mob with your ‘plink’ abilities and never have a chance to plant your most convincing strike before they died. As a result, leveling felt slow and underpowered. Not an issue anymore. You gain Maelstrom fast enough to effectively finish out the mobs.

PLATE

Death Knight

Frost – everything is the same here. But Haste addressed, you don’t wait for abilities to come anymore, it’s very quick now. Make me able to wield zweihanders again, and we’re good :)

Unholy – not a fan of pet specs, I didn’t play it or test it.

Paladin

Retribution – everything is the same here.

Warrior

Arms – now feels like a feeble attempt to mimic Fury. And yet speed is not there. They reintroduced one more (annoying) strike in the rotation, so now it’s crammy, unsatisfying. Dismissed with no regret or intent to return.

Fury – is perfect now. A careful talent choice has turned me into a non-stop killing machine. Talent choices allowed me to exclude even the smallest gaps between attacks, so once in battle, you strike, strike and strike, never giving an opponent a chance to answer. Amazing.

My Resume:

  • I’m glad that they didn’t touch some of the classes that felt right in Legion (Death Knights, Paladins, Druids).
  • Many classes were tweaked to make them a lot more enjoyable to play (Warriors, Shaman, Mages).
  • As for regrets, there are few. My favorite Assassination and Affliction options are buried for tonight – luckily I have replacements at the ready.
  • Personally I need to test drive Hunter, Mage and Shaman in questing, but in general the changes are positive, and I’m ready for Battle for Azeroth.

 

Pre-Patch is Live!

Battle-for-Azeroth-login-screen

EU maintenance was planned during 3 a.m. – 11 a.m. By a good Blizzard tradition, I was able to successfully login at 8 a.m. :)

First of all, the login screen. I hated the initiate sharp Legion tune chords, so I was happy to hear the new, softer one beginning of Battle for Azeroth. BfA music pieces are pretty cool, and anyways, it’s a welcome change of tune. The picture is also changed, and unwelcoming demons turned into Azeroth battlefield. If I may say so, it’s a lot more Warcraft-ish, RTS menu screens coming to mind.

Interface – it’s yay! I quickly got used to bag and system buttons in the right bottom corner. I will only need to use shortcuts more instead of clicking.

The new action panels are cool, most of the abilities were conveniently sorted out already, although I did a re-adjustment nevertheless. Mostly with convenience buttons like ranged aggro for non-tanks, warlock’s health stones, travel speed buffs etc. My main rotations remained untouched.

More or less, my action panels are now arranged this way:

Panels

The major thing is that there are still 3 options for core action panel. This is vital. Take Aurinko the Priest: her default core action panel is healing, one click switches her to DPS mode, and yet another grants her fishing on key 1. The fishing option is also used for quests with extra button like TBC bombing dailies.

Class talent changes are plenty. The choices were made, I tend to choose the passive abilities to make it a minimum of buttons. I am not a fan of having 5 extra cooldowns to remember about. Yet passives are pretty powerful, so it doesn’t look like compromise at all.

All in all I am pleased to say that all options are really great now, and offer a drastically different gameplay. I didn’t spot any useless ones throughout 12 classes. So it all comes down to the style of gameplay you prefer. Hardcore raiders will scrap out the smallest DPS crumbs out of the “best builds”, but who are we to judge them, right?

I’m not sure about several options yet, but I just need to try them in battle. Conveniently the emissaries are reset, and Army of Light is up, so I expect a very productive evening of class changes trial.

As for rotation changes, there are not many. Affliction Warlocks and Marksmanship Hunters got drastic overhauls, that needs to be tried and tested. As far as I get, Marksmanship will be focused on build-spend calmer gameplay rather that frantic clicking based on procs – this is good, and this serves class fantasy better.

There is an unpleasant talent change with Frost Mages: dismissing a Water Elemental and my favorite instant nuke are on the same tier now, so I can’t get both. I still go petless, and there is some channeled freeze ray instead of nuke which looks awesome. We shall see how it will work in the field.

My resume is: the changes were long expected and very welcome. Now on with field tests.

Dark Iron Dwarves and Mag’har Orcs: Class Choice

Blizzard’s official announcement about new Allies – Dark Irons and Mag’har Orcs – is up! Most importantly, the list of classes and racial abilities is published too. And it is high time to think about our new alts.

Dark Iron Dwarves

Dark-Iron-Allied

The Dark Irons can boast this set of classes:

  • Hunter
  • Mage
  • Monk
  • Paladin
  • Priest
  • Rogue
  • Shaman
  • Warlock
  • Warrior

The variety of classes is really stunning. Of course you could expect the darker and brutal options like Hunters (with bombastic guns), Mages (notably Fire), scheming Warlocks, Shaman (no race is THAT bound to Earth and Fire element), of course Warriors and Rogues. It is surprising to see Paladins… and Priests!

It’ll be really hard to choose the one class and spec from all.

Hunter – no option, it’s Marksmanship with my Gnome Baisa, and I’m not currently happy with the other specs.

Mage – I have toons for every mage spec: Frost – Gnome main, Arcane – Void Elf and Fire – lol, a Dwarf girl. Fire fits so well – but I prefer my Fire Mage to be a cheerful and adventurous ginger girl. Her lighter skin tone contrasts with the coal singed colors.

Monk – sorry, but I still think the idea of giving away monks to every next race is quite silly. Frankly I’d cut the class from most of them, dwarfs and dark irons too.

Paladin and Priest – mmm… nope. The Light thing doesn’t ring a bell with Dark Irons, although it could be justified with them joining Ironforge and learning these paths. Well, it just doesn’t. And as I’ve renounced shadow priesthood with my Gnome priest, shadow is not an option too.

Rogue – is just what we’ve seen the Dark Irons throughout questing in Khaz Modan lands. It fits so well, but I have two Rogues already which cover both specs I like – a highly competent elite criminal human Berringer currently in service of SI:7 (assassination), and a shadow blade political assassin nightborne Arkeona.

Shaman – both Elemental and Enhancement fit so good. As long as my Schlitzchen the Goblin drifts now into restoration, I would consider giving it a try. Most probably it will be Agility’s Enhancement, as Schlitzchen will share Intellect in Restoration/Elemental.

Warlock – probably no chance for me, spawning more pet classes :) I just don’t like pets. Although all the three specs are perfect options for a Drak Iron in my opinion.

Finally, Warrior. This is an awesome and solid option equal to Shaman. My warrior today is Oulu the Draenei girl, which I roleplay as a swift-blade rangari from alternate Draenor. She dual-wields twin axes, so Arms and Protection are opened options for my brand new Dark Iron Dwarf.

To sum it up, a Dark Iron toon is:

  • A must for me, I want this alt for roleplay sakes
  • It will be a brutal melee girl, just what it says on the picture above
  • I will choose between an Enhancement Shaman or Arms/Protection Warrior
  • If other class/specs weren’t already covered, my second best choice would be all kinds of rogues, all kinds of warlocks, or a fire mage.

Mag’har Orcs

Maghar

Them, and Zandalari are not what I’m excited to play. Still let’s see what Blizzard offers us:

  • Hunter
  • Mage
  • Monk
  • Priest
  • Rogue
  • Shaman
  • Warrior

In short, Mag’har orcs are alternate timeline orcs which come under Grommash Hellscream’s command, and they obviously lack the hated fel option: Warlocks. The list of classes is as pure and close to nature as possible.

Every option has a strong bond with elements and/or is about good honest steel. Priest option is highly surprising though… I really need a lore explanation for this. Holy Light and Orcs are like… strawberry and fish. You can eat them together, but it’s not natural or tasty.

I’m not planning to roll a mag’har toon yet, but if I were, I would go for the honest Shaman, Warrior or Hunter. The basics.

What are your thoughts?